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More Thin Depth Of Field: Retrospective on My First Months with a 300mm f/2
Missed Opportunity at Tokyo Midtown a couple of years ago  --  Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/8000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Missed Opportunity
at Tokyo Midtown a couple of years ago

This post is just a bunch of ultra-thin-depth-of-field shots taken with a Nikkor 300mm f/2 lens, at its maximum f/2 aperture. These all date back to 2011, after I first got the lens.

I have a category on my blog of articles with photos taken with this lens, but I'm prompted to post a collection like this after not being all that happy with the super-thin-depth-of-field shots that I shared the other day in “Kyoto's Souren-ji Temple at f/1.2”. Many of the shots on today's post aren't all that great either, but some are nice, as were the 300mm/f2 shots I posted the other day in “Thin on the Depth of Field, Thick on the Cuteness”.

(My favorite photos with this lens are on “The Kind Of Shot That Ultra Thin Depth Of Field Was Made For”.)

The shot above, taken an hour or so after I first got the lens, illustrates something many of the shots I've chosen for today illustrate: focusing on one small object, throwing the rest of the photo out of focus, often just doesn't work.

The focus in the shot above is the pair of shoes, but it really should be the lady facing the camera. I posted a similar shot of the same scene in “Street Photography (Sort of) In Roppongi Hills”, but not focusing on the photogenic lady facing the camera was a mistake.

This next shot, though overall somewhat boring, is a better use of the thin depth of field...

Waiting for the Light  --  Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Waiting for the Light
Modes of Transport  --  Tokyo Midtown  --  Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Modes of Transport

A busy shot, but I like the guy's slumped shoulders in contrast to the snazzy sports car.

Bullet Train Arrival Kyoto Station (京都駅)  --  Kyoto Station (京都駅)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Bullet Train Arrival
Kyoto Station (京都駅)

More shots from Kyoto Station that first evening I had the lens appeared on “More Street Photography at 300mm f/2” and “Kyoto Station Evening at 300mm f/2”.

Life in the Fast Lane just a quick ride to check the feel of the bike  --  Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Life in the Fast Lane
just a quick ride to check the feel of the bike

This is Pierre Nadeau, Japanese swordsmith, testing a friend's bike. I tried to follow focus as he approached, and with such a thin depth of focus I'm lucky I got anything at all, so I don't mind so much that he's barely in frame.

Good Times Oishi Kougen (生石高原), Wakayama Japan  --  Oishi Kougen (生石高原)  --  Kaisougun, Wakayama, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/5000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Good Times
Oishi Kougen (生石高原), Wakayama Japan

Zak plays shakuhachi as Pierre and Stéphane enjoy.

Dreaming ( he's actually looking at the remote-control plane he's flying, but I like my version better. )  --  Oishi Kougen (生石高原)  --  Kaisougun, Wakayama, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/8000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Dreaming
( he's actually looking at the remote-control plane he's flying, but I like my version better. )

This next one is a perfect example of the lesson I'm learning in looking at this group of photos, that selective focus on a small object in the frame just doesn't work well...

Perfect Focus Kamo River (鴨川), Kyoto Japan  --  Kamo River (鴨川)  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Perfect Focus
Kamo River (鴨川), Kyoto Japan

It's hard to tell without clicking through to the larger version, but the focus is on the baseball in the water, which is there because the guy failed to get to it in time. (Other pictures in the sequence are on “Big Lens at the River: Focusing on Disappointment.”)

A couple of fun shots with more appropriate use of thin depth of field...

Kamo River (鴨川), Kyoto Japan  --  Kamo River (鴨川)  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Kamo River (鴨川), Kyoto Japan
Kamo River (鴨川)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

I've tried a number of times to get an interesting shot of fall foliage with this lens, but I've yet to get one. Here's one (of many) failures...

Blown Out  --  Uji, Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Blown Out

Compare to this shot and you'll see that I've still got progress to make.

Awesome Sunset  --  Tsu, Mie, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/400 sec, f/2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Awesome Sunset

I came outside (from my first meeting with my only Japanese niece) to see this sunset, so I very quickly grabbed the lens from the trunk and snapped a shot. The utility pole is ugly, but better than it would be at a smaller aperture.

Then there was the Gion Matsuri, Kyoto's largest and most important festival, Two months after getting the lens. This was its first real workout in my hands.....

Herding Cats Gion Matsuri (祇園祭), Kyoto Japan  --  Gion Matsuri (祇園祭)  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/2, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Herding Cats
Gion Matsuri (祇園祭), Kyoto Japan

Gion Matsuri is a month-long festival of events, with street parties the three nights before the main event (a procession of huge wooden floats). I went out each of the three nights that year, with many resulting blog posts starting with “A Thin Slice of Big Crowds at Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri Festival”, mostly with this lens.

Among those many photos are some of my favorite shots, highlighted on “The Kind Of Shot That Ultra Thin Depth Of Field Was Made For”.

Gion Matsuri (祇園祭)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/2, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos

I do this next shot all the time.... focusing on the screen of someone's camera...

Gion Matsuri (祇園祭)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/2, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos

...but in this situation the background was just too far out of focus, so you can't tell the situation unless you already know what it is. For comparison, here's a shot moments later with the focus further away...

Gion Matsuri (祇園祭)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/2, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos

A few wider shots... not sure that f/2 is doing much here...

Looking West  --  Gion Matsuri (祇園祭)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/2, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking West
Looking West half an hour later  --  Gion Matsuri (祇園祭)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/800 sec, f/2, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking West
half an hour later
Here's Looking at You  --  Gion Matsuri (祇園祭)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/500 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Here's Looking at You

Then we jump past the summer to a near-miss by a typhoon, a couple of shots that didn't quite make it into “Typhoon Was Mostly a Non-Event in Kyoto”...

Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + 300mm f/2 — 1/1000 sec, f/2, ISO 360 — image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + 300mm f/2 — 1/1000 sec, f/2, ISO 280 — image datanearby photos
Noticed Me camped out at the Sanjo Starbucks, Kyoto Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Noticed Me
camped out at the Sanjo Starbucks, Kyoto Japan

For some reason I brought the 300/2 when I met Zak for coffee, and had planned to get some candids of him as he approached, but he saw me across the river right away.

Inside, I switched to a 50mm f/1.4 and tried the “focus on one small object” shot...

Sanjo Starbucks  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/2500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos

This time it seems to work better. A bit.


Comments so far....

Nice shots, makes me want to get my 200 f/2 out for a ride :-)

— comment by Damien on January 26th, 2013 at 12:35am JST (1 year, 9 months ago) comment permalink

What do you think after having it for around two years? I presume it cost you a fair amount to get; was it worth it? Would you do it again? Did you beef up your forearms specifically for it? :D

Well, here’s what it did to me… yeah, I think it was worth it. :-) —Jeffrey

— comment by I-Gene Leong on February 4th, 2013 at 3:13am JST (1 year, 9 months ago) comment permalink
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